Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
by Ally Carter

Trade Paperback: 284 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
First Released: 2007

Author Website

Source: Bought from

Back Cover Blurb:
Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school--typical, that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and if all students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy claims to be a school for geniuses, but it’s really a school for spies.

Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”--but can she have a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission--falling in love.

This book is a YA romance, spy-style. Pretty much everything about this book--the spy gadgets, spy stories, numerous hidden passageways, and so on--are all wildly implausible, but the story is nonetheless extremely funny (if you enjoy this type of humor). The overall tone of the book is very light and funny, but it ends on a serious note. The pacing was excellent, the world-building was good, and the characters were engaging.

However, I had a problem with the ending. Cammie has to decide what she wants in her future. In the last chapter, she's made that decision and is satisfied with it--and so was I. Then the author plays a trick on both Cammie and the reader, making us think she can have both instead of either/or, only to cruelly rip that hope away the moment she's embraced the idea. She's left with her original decision, but it no longer feels satisfying to me (or, apparently, to Cammie from the way she reacts). This wasn't major enough to make me not recommend the book, but I had to wonder why the author decided to turn a satisfying ending into a weaker one.

There is romance and kissing, but no sex or cussing. Overall, I'd recommend this as a "good, clean fun" novel.

Excerpt: Chapter One
I suppose a lot of teenage girls feel invisible sometimes, like they just disappear. Well, that's me--Cammie the Chameleon. But I'm luckier than most because, at my school, that's considered cool.

I go to a school for spies.

Of course, technically, the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a school for geniuses--not spies--and we're free to pursue any career that befits our exceptional educations. But when a school tells you that, and then teaches you things like advanced encryption and fourteen different languages, it's kind of like big tobacco telling kids not to smoke; so all of us Gallagher Girls know lip service when we hear it. Even my mom rolls her eyes but doesn't correct me when I call it spy school, and she's the headmistress. Of course, she's also a retired CIA operative, and it was her idea for me to write this, my first Covert Operations Report, to summarize what happened last semester.


Tia Nevitt said...

I was thinking about getting this one for my sister who is a teacher, who reads YA novels. Did you ever see the book trailer that the author's fans did for this novel? It is hilarious and very well done. You can find it at her agent's website:

Just do a search in the blog for Alley Carter and scroll around until you find it.

Genre Review said...

Go ahead and get it for your sister; overall, it's a good, funny story.

I might have seen the fan book trailer for this book before, but I'm not sure. I've stopped watching book trailers because they're turning me off perfectly good books.

I looked up the link you recommended. It's